Why Call Out Fundamentalist Views: Isn’t Everyone Entitled to Their Own Opinion?

Yes, everyone IS entitled to their own opinions (beliefs)—but not all opinions are equally valid (think ‘flat earth’), and some are very, very harmful. We could simply ignore our disagreement with harmful fundamentalist views, but that would leave potentially new fundamentalists uninformed and vulnerable to the harmful beliefs they are being asked to embrace. And it would also leave those already questioning the validity of these doctrines without resources and support as they begin to think for themselves.

Some fundamentalist beliefs are extremely harmful, and I think it very important that we expose them, explain them, and correct them in order to reduce the damage they cause. But what if we are wrong in OUR opinions? Would WE then be the ones damaging others by leading them astray?

Let me make a clear statement: I KNOW I am mistaken in some of my beliefs. I don’t know which ones, of course, but NOBODY is correct on everything. And that includes me—and you.

However, being mistaken does not carry the same consequences in all cases. Mistaking rat poison as a food ingredient does not bear the same consequence as mistaking salt for sugar. This is why I focus on beliefs that are most harmful and have the greatest negative consequences.

I am well aware that many accuse me of the terrible consequence of my leading people to eternal punishment in hell, and if this were true it would be terrible indeed! But I don’t believe anyone will be punished in hell, and in this case I don’t think there is a 1% chance that I am mistaken.

Some of the Most Harmful and Damaging Fundamentalist Beliefs Today

6 Signs of Religious Baggage

There are many points on which fundamentalists and other believers agree, and some disagreements that don’t matter much; but there are a significant number of beliefs that do great damage to people. I call these damaging beliefs ‘religious baggage’ because they seriously impact people negatively.

Not all religious differences are as serious as others. I don’t care much if a person believes that Sunday is the new Sabbath and applies Old Testament Sabbath restrictions to Sunday. It doesn’t matter much to me if a person believes they must give 10% of their income to the local church. It doesn’t bother me if a person believes we must be baptized by immersion only. I disagree with all these positions, and I think they do have negative consequences, but they do not rise to the level of tremendous harm in my mind.

But there are plenty of beliefs that do:

  • The Bible is God’s inerrant word
  • God is angry, violent, and vindictive
  • God will punish people in hell for eternity
  • God demands that we follow numerous legalistic rules
  • God condemns and rejects LGBTs
  • God’s plan for families and churches is a patriarchy of men over women
  • The Genesis account of creation is literal history and evolution is a lie

In my opinion, these views are not only misguided but they really hurt people! They either create heavy burdens for those who embrace them, distract believers from full involvement in the kingdom of God, or result in personal damage to other people.

I have collected relevant articles and resources from myself and others on each of these issues that you can see, if you wish, by viewing the appropriate sections from Resources on Harmful Beliefs in the menu band at the top of this page.

Are Fundamentalist Teachers and Leaders Villains to be Castigated?

The answer is No. Though I think conservative Christian leaders do great damage by teaching these harmful beliefs, they are not villains. Most of them are not dishonest. I do not accuse them of using these beliefs for power or personal benefit—they really believe what they teach. They are also our fellow believers and followers of Jesus, and I believe God loves them just the same as God loves us who are not burdened with this baggage. I would take communion with any of them.

My issue is with the harmful doctrines themselves—not the teachers and leaders who are also victims of these teachings. I think the focus should be on exposing and correcting the fallacies of these doctrines and not disparaging the leaders. I don’t think castigating the leaders is appropriate—the problem is the doctrines they believe and teach. I rarely even mention their names.

We should not dehumanize them or attack them as enemies—they are our opponents in perspective but not our enemies. And we should love them as we love ourselves—hate is not an option. Some might think this sounds a lot like ‘love the sinner; hate the sin’ which is a common conservative religious expression, but I don’t think it is. The usual use of  ‘love the sinner; hate the sin’ carries with it a lot of personal judgment and condemnation. I am not qualified to bring judgment and condemnation on these fellow-believers; who am I to judge another man’s servant?

What Should We Do About Harmful Fundamentalist/Evangelical Teachings?

Conservative Christian leaders are NOT villains to be castigated, but they do harm a lot of people (including themselves) with their teaching. I think we should refrain from personal attacks on leaders and teachers; but we must call out the harmful theology. We must expose false, misguided beliefs that cause great harm to people.

It is true that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not all opinions are equally valid. And there are many disagreements, but not all disagreements are equally important. So let us identify the most harmful beliefs and expose them for the sake of those who are hurt, or might potentially be hurt, by them.

Articles in this series: Inerrantist Believers

Why Call Out Fundamentalist Views: Isn’t Everyone Entitled to Their Own Opinion?
Why Progressive Believers and Fundamentalist Believers Disagree on So Many Important Beliefs
For My Inerrantist Friends: Why Appeals to Inerrancy are Totally Ineffective in Discussion
Jesus Without Baggage Welcomes Inerrantists!
‘The Bible Clearly Says’ is Always a Seriously Misguided Statement

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140 Responses to Why Call Out Fundamentalist Views: Isn’t Everyone Entitled to Their Own Opinion?

  1. Jim says:

    Just when I needed a breath of fresh air as I deal with some tricky chaplaincy problems you open the door and a glorious breeze of common sense wafts through. I would want to add a chunk about Misogeny and the denial of women’s ministry!

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Wow Jim! This is so nice: “you open the door and a glorious breeze of common sense wafts through.” Thank you; I am glad to be helpful.

      I, too, feel strongly about misogyny and women’s place in home and church. I listed patriarchy in the text, and there are a number of article in the Resources menu, but it has not yet been updated in the graphic. In addition to Christian patriarchy I plan to write a series about sexual abuse in the church, but it takes awhile to cover every issue I want to cover.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ken Hogan says:

    Replacing the adjective “conservative” with “fundamentalist” would paint with not such a broad brush; one can simultaneously retain a set of conservative principles and reject the fundamentalism you so describe so well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Ken, you raise a good point. I struggle with finding the right term to describe the group I have in mind. To some people there is a difference between fundamentalist and evangelical, and I am very aware of that difference, but large segments of evangelicalism are no longer distinguishable from fundamentalists and many people are unaware of the differences between conservative evangelicals and progressive evangelicals.

      I sometimes say fundamentalists/evangelicals and other times ‘conservative Christians’ or something similar; but I have not found an overall satisfactory term. I continue to struggle with this and am open to further suggestions if you have any.

      Liked by 1 person

      • John Messimer says:

        There are some references I use in identifying so called Evangelicals or Conservative Christians. One is “Christianism” which claims to be Christian with some of the identifying markers such as baptism, preaching and Biblical references but falls short when loving one another as I have loved you. Cults fall in this category. The other is secular religion whereby people share on social media the assumed beliefs of the observer: God and heaven are in the sky, hell is beneath in the center of the earth and the other 6 items earlier mentioned. Both of these references are highly judgmental and exclusive positions.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          John, I think both of these are good descriptions. And I think you also captured two important aspects of these groups–judgmentalism and exclusiveness. Thanks!

          Like

      • Jodee says:

        I struggle with these terms. I’ve begun to think this struggle with these terms is on the cutting edge of the church & theology today. Sounds like a good series to explore in Jesus Without Baggage!?

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Good point, Jodee! I will put together some beginning notes but am not sure when I will be able to do an article on it.

          Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Jodee, I created a draft page with some notes to develop later. It might come together within the next few weeks.

          Like

  3. Kevin says:

    I might add that possibly the most harmful belief of the modern Christian church, which is ultimately the foundation of all it teaches, is that God demanded a sacrifice, and that no sacrifice was good enough to atone for our sins, so He sent His son to earth to take the whoopin’ that we all deserved. I know the scriptural argument can be made to support it, but it comes at the ignorance and denial of other passages that say the exact opposite, as well as a complete denial of what we all know true love is, and what true love does. God didn’t demand a sacrifice, man did, and God submitted Himself to it in order to reveal what the extent of true love is, and what true love does.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Anthony Paul says:

      Kevin, this is a concept that I have struggled with for quite a while now; it’s one of the last hold-outs at the bottom of my fundamentalist bag of bricks. I know that what you have said here is very true:

      “I know the scriptural argument can be made to support it, but it comes at the ignorance and denial of other passages that say the exact opposite, as well as a complete denial of what we all know true love is, and what true love does.”

      Believing that the Bible is a wonderful resource for learning to tune our minds in with The Mind of God, I did a quick search on this idea that above all else He desires mercy… love… justice etc. and not sacrifice. Here’s what I came up with: this very point is directly addressed a total of 21 times in… 1 Samuel, Hosea, Psalms (3X), Mark, Matthew (4 X), Proverbs, Amos, Micah, Jeremiah (4X), Ecclesiastes, Hebrews, Isaiah, and Exodus.

      As you seem to suggest in your post, one of the biggest problems here is that the fundamentalist seems to study the Bible with a sort of intellectual myopia where he sees only what suits his belief rather than to study, read and learn by allowing what is being said to shape his thinking about God and his fellow human beings.

      Thanks for your comment… it has helped move my own thinking along in this regard.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Kevin says:

        YES! That’s exactly what I’m getting at! I’m always apprehensive about saying things like that, because I know it can be a pretty explosive assertion. I have no interest in stirring up arguments, or angry feelings. I just want people to think a little. It really doesn’t take much thought to realize that we’ve misunderstood God’s intent all along.

        Liked by 2 people

    • tonycutty says:

      Yep. “God has made this Jesus, whom *you* killed, to be both Lord and Christ!” (Somewhere in Acts 2) They killed Jesus, God didn’t. And neither did we.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Kevin says:

        Exactly! That was one of the references I was thinking of. I also have a couple from the OT, which are quoted in the NT; one of them being Hosea 6:6: “I don’t want your sacrifices—I want your love; I don’t want your offerings—I want you to know me.”

        Liked by 3 people

      • Chas says:

        And yet God allowed them to do so, when He could very easily have prevented it.

        Liked by 3 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I agree–God did not kill Jesus!. But I think the public execution of Jesus, together with his resurrection, worked together to defeat the ultimate power of evil and death.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Rob Stanback says:

      Kevin, Tim wrote an excellent post on this two years ago, and the discussion was envigorating. If you haven’t read it yet, you should:
      https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/how-substitutionary-atonement-fails/

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jodee says:

      I AGREE AGREE AGREE!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Kevin, I agree! This is a BIGGIE! It is called penal substitution and I think it is one of the most misguided and harmful beliefs of all.

      Like

    • Jodee says:

      (this is kind of where I’m at on this today). People full of fear, jealousy & and anger crucified Jesus. God just took an awful situation and Made something good out of it like he is prone to do, by raising Jesus from the dead. This shows us, i.e. God shows us that 1. This is what has always happened when people die, and 2. You too can be filled with “new-life” and feel like you have been raised from the spiritual death in your life when you feel like you can’t go on any more, when you have no hope in your life. This is how we are transformed every time we pray.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. newtonfinn says:

    I, too, struggle to find appropriate words to describe something that jumps out at me on an intuitive level. I’ll be reading or hearing something offered as a Christian message and be turned off, not because the message brings home my failures to follow Jesus more fully or makes me feel the suffering of the world (including my complacency and complicity), but because the message does NOT bring these things home. Then I’ll read or hear another Christian message in which I instantly recognize the Jesus I encounter in the synoptic gospels and the Abba God I encounter in prayer and other subjective religious experience. I can’t help but feel that there are two quite different Christianities here which cry out to be distinguished, but the right words to do this continue to escape me. Doctrine is involved, but it’s deeper than that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Peter says:

      I have long understood that there is an enormous difference between the Christian FAITH and the Christian RELIGION (or CHRISTENDOM).
      Does this help:
      https://outsidethegoldfishbowl.wordpress.com/christendom/

      Liked by 2 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Peter, I agree that, “there is an enormous difference between the Christian FAITH and the Christian RELIGION (or CHRISTENDOM).” The terms I use are the kingdom of God and Christendom (or the visible church).

        Your article is very insightful; I think that the alliance between the Church and Constantine was a disaster.

        Liked by 1 person

      • newtonfinn says:

        That was a useful article, Peter. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Anthony Paul says:

      “I, too, struggle to find appropriate words to describe something that jumps out at me on an intuitive level… I can’t help but feel that there are two quite different Christianities here which cry out to be distinguished, but the right words to do this continue to escape me. Doctrine is involved, but it’s deeper than that.”

      WOW!!! Newton. You really hit me with a big one here, brother!! Your ENTIRE POST brought to mind something that happened to me on a christian web site a number of years ago. This young lesbian girl who also happened to believe in the practice of Wicca visited the site to respectfully talk about Jesus but ended up being attacked by the general population there no less for her religious beliefs than her sexual orientation. At the time it seemed appropriate to me to point out to her that Jesus and not Isis is the only true God and that the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin and a perversion of the natural act of love. I’m never comfortable when I get preachy… I just feel that I need to bite the bullet and “tell the truth”. Well, the strangest thing happened to me while I was in the act of composing my comment: before I had a chance to organize my thoughts, this image popped into my head of a group of men, myself included, standing around this young woman with stones in our hands ready to do what was necessary in order to straighten her out on a few facts. As I paused to think about what had just happened I remembered that Jesus dealt with just such a group of men who were going to stone a woman who was caught in adultery. Since he wasn’t throwing any stones I decided that neither would I… that moment changed a great deal of my thinking about the nature of sin, man, and God. Funny how I had never seen that before, but that moment had a great impact upon me.

      I posted a message that day but the words came out more like a river of love and not condemnation for the young girl who had stumbled upon that blog and who just wanted to talk about Jesus. The judgement in me was gone and so was the condemnation… all I could do was to tell her how much God loves us exactly where we are. To me that girl was like an angel sent from God; I had come to reason that if Jesus could love a woman who was so obviously fallen from grace as an adulterer, He surely must love this young girl as well… and that love must by extension also include me and the rest of humanity.

      Thanks for bringing it all back to me today.

      Liked by 3 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        “This image popped into my head of a group of men, myself included, standing around this young woman with stones in our hands ready to do what was necessary in order to straighten her out on a few facts. As I paused to think about what had just happened I remembered that Jesus dealt with just such a group of men who were going to stone a woman who was caught in adultery.”

        Wow, Anthony, what a picture you painted! The entire comment is inspiring. I think most of us are ready to set someone ‘straight’, but I think your restraint and change of direction in this situation is quite admirable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tonycutty says:

        Fantastic testimony, Anthony 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • Chas says:

      The right word is division.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, I agree with you that there seem to be “two quite different Christianities here which cry out to be distinguished.” I think one is a particular construct built on the assumption of inerrancy, although other constructs on inerrancy are possible.

      On the other hand approaching the Bible without the assumption of inerrancy leads to much different conclusions. So, yes, I think you are right–two Christianities.

      Like

  5. wildcatllamas@aol.com says:

    A friend who is a minister shared your blog with me and so far I find what you say a breathe of fresh air. I am a Pagan but I also believe in Jesus – the person. Thank you for what you share.

    Barb Harris Wild Cat Travel & Llamas (719) 510-0899 facebook.com/wildcattravel

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Chas says:

    Tim, I agree with you that we should not condemn those who preach these opinions with which we disagree, because they are usually sincere in their beliefs and no doubt think that we are mistaken. We need only to state our beliefs clearly, with the evidence on which those beliefs are founded. As to extreme views, you are no doubt well aware that mine are more extreme than any others!

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Chas, I think you said that very well! Don’t condemn the teachers; remember that they are usually sincere; and state our beliefs clearly with evidence. I know you have some extreme views; I think most people who think for themselves probably do–including me. I am not opposed to extreme views but there are some that are probably best not shared with vulnerable inquirers on the blog.

      Like

      • Chas says:

        Tim, The fact that your blog can accommodate a very wide range of opinion, without there being acrimony, is what makes it so special. Imagine if we were to express our opinions in a fundamentalist site. We would be abused as evil (or worse) and be banned within a day. Tolerance compared with intolerance.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Anthony Paul says:

          Fundamentalism teaches that tolerance in the face of evil is not a virtue. They will point out that Jesus was not tolerant when he called The Pharisees “sons of the devil”… and so they take their cue from passages such as this one in The Gospel of John. I can understand their view because I had been caught up in this kind of mindset myself some time ago… it is very difficult for them to have any real sense of peace because they see life as an either/or proposition… either black or white, good or evil with very little wiggle room in between. They cannot hurt anyone else half as much as they hurt themselves by their behavior because in the final analysis they know they cannot forgive themselves for being human and for the things they know about themselves…. so they contrive this gospel which says they are special — the elect — and that sin has no power over them.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Anthony, I agree. It is tough being a fundamentalist, and many of them are not even aware of it–and they reject the alternatives.

            You stated, “They cannot hurt anyone else half as much as they hurt themselves by their behavior because in the final analysis they know they cannot forgive themselves for being human and for the things they know about themselves…. so they contrive this gospel which says they are special — the elect — and that sin has no power over them.”

            Well said.

            Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Thanks, Chas. I like that part of the blog’s character as well! And you contribute to that, you know.

          Like

        • Chas says:

          Anthony, yes, I have seen one church in which the pastor taught that ‘out there’ they were all sinners, and one should be careful about speaking to them (unless of course, you were like him and qualified to go out and confront them).

          Liked by 1 person

  7. hoju1959 says:

    Tim, thanks for the post. I agree with you that most — what the heck, ALL! — fundamentalist beliefs are harmful, even evil. Where I part ways with you is I think that fundamentalists are often CORRECT in the views they hold. That is, their view is the BIBLICAL view. The Bible says what it says. It is, 100 percent against homosexuality, for example — cover to cover. It ASSUMES heterosexuality. Another example is how the Bible degrades women. It does, 100 percent.

    I’m aware that most — what the heck, ALL! — progressive Christians disagree with me on this. They feel that, read rightly, the Bible does, for example, affirm loving same-sex unions and does empower women. They are mistaken.

    The Bible is an ancient book written by people who believed in a flat earth. It wasn’t written by God.

    I’m speaking as someone who devotedly studied and memorized the Bible for 35 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hoju, you stated, “It is, 100 percent against homosexuality, for example — cover to cover. It ASSUMES heterosexuality. Another example is how the Bible degrades women. It does, 100 percent. I’m aware that most — what the heck, ALL! — progressive Christians disagree with me on this. They feel that, read rightly, the Bible does, for example, affirm loving same-sex unions and does empower women. They are mistaken.”

      Hoju, I agree with you that the Bible assumes heterosexuality and that all potential references to homosexuality are negative. I agree with you that the Bible does not affirm loving same-sex unions. The three main examples proponents use to support this are all very, very weak: Jonathan and David, Ruth and Naomi, and the Centurion and his servant.

      But I disagree that all progressive Christians disagree with your statement; I don’t disagree. But you also provide the solution to the problem of homosexuality in the Bible: “The Bible is an ancient book written by people who believed in a flat earth. It wasn’t written by God.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • hoju1959 says:

        Thanks for the reply, Tim. I appreciate your perspective. The progressive Christians I’ve talked to have tried to convince me that the Bible has been misinterpreted for 2,000 years. For example, Matthew Vines says that “abomination” doesn’t really mean, well, abomination. It means “taboo.” I disagree. The way I read it, the Torah says that homosexuality turns God’s stomach.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Hoju, I would not say that the Bible has been misinterpreted for 2000 years; I believe the problem with so many fundamentalist beliefs is that they assume that everything written in the Bible was directed by God (inerrancy). Instead, I believe the writers of the Old Testament were people who felt a connection with God but wrote out of the limitations of their eras, cultures, and an inadequate perspective on God’s character.

          As far as I know, Matthew Vines still embraces inerrancy so his explanation of this passage from Leviticus is a bit different than mine. Here is why I don’t think it applies to the gay controversy today:

          https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/does-leviticus-say-gays-are-detestable-and-must-be-killed/

          Like

          • hoju1959 says:

            Tim, I understand what you’re saying. You too generous, I think! 🙂 For example, I don’t believe the first five books of the Bible were written because the writer “felt a connection with God.” I think they were written as political propaganda for the theocratic state after Babylonian exile. Similarly, I don’t think a “connection with God” drove what Paul said to his churches. I would say that was a connection to the people in those churches.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Hoju, I agree with this. I usually use the language of ‘connected to God’ and ‘writing from their limitations…’ when responding to inerrantists; it is not a good time to get into just who those writers are–not Moses and contemporaries in the Joshua and Judges stories but editors from the Babylonian and post-Babylonia period perhaps using some earlier material mixed in. This would be too much for them to handle in those situations.

            Using those phrases probably wasn’t as appropriate a response to you. My apologies.

            Like

  8. Tom Johnson says:

    Thanks, Tim. Very Helpful. I will share with my study group.
    Dr. Tom Johnson

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Paz says:

    Thanks again for a great post Tim!
    I think Jesus teachings about letting go as a way to transformation and to progress forward, also applies to letting go of our own egotism which includes how we treat and interact with others who think differently to ourselves and with those differences of opinions we don’t always fully understand. I think you explained this really well Tim!!!
    I also believe Jesus was able to accomplish this by inspiring us with his own uniqueness and individuality, also demonstrating this in the way he was able to transcend all – including all religious boundaries, through practicing universal compassion, tolerance, empathy, kindness and through the greatest of all being of course, love.
    And this is just another one of my own opinions! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Charlotte Robertson says:

    What a GREAT thread this is. Thank you Tim for sharing your insight and thank you all for your responses. So much is being said what comes to my mind and makes me confused or even worried to think about. I totally agree that this article and the responses are a breath of fresh air.

    Liked by 2 people

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  12. Marjorie Weiss says:

    I would add that fundamentalism harms people by teaching them that a being counter to God called Satan is constantly influencing them in minor or major ways. I especially think such a teaching two young children must really mess with their heads.c.f.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. newtonfinn says:

    Insights generously abound on this thread. There has truly been a beloved community formed around JWB, and I’m grateful to be a part of it. In a prior post, I ended with the idea that something more than doctrine is involved in this split within Christianity. Why do people embrace one set of beliefs or doctrines as opposed to another? In addition to social conditioning, always a strong and stubborn influence, I can’t help but feel that more than the intellect is involved, that many people actually ENJOY believing one way or the other, get deep emotional satisfaction from their beliefs and doctrines. This would help explain why they seem so impervious to reason, and I’d be interested in the thoughts of others in the JWB community about this subject. Anthony Paul’s comment, to cite only one example among many, poignantly touched upon this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, I am very happy about our beloved community and I am glad you are part of it and help it to thrive and be healthy.

      Regarding reasons for the severe split in beliefs among believers, I believe one important factor is the insistence on biblical inerrancy. If you are seeing the Bible through those glasses the view is much different than if you see the Bible without them. I retired my inerrancy glasses long ago.

      Like

      • newtonfinn says:

        I fully agree, Tim, about the central role played by inerrancy, and can understand the fear of damnation that wards off any questioning of the Bible in its entirety. But I’m also wondering if there is some strong POSITIVE emotional current which, like a magnetic field, draws certain people into the fundamentalist fold and makes them want to stay there…because it feeds something inside them, some hunger or desire. When I once asked a friend why people kept engaging in obviously self-destructive behavior, he gave me an interesting answer: “Because, bottom line, they get something out of it, they like it.” Just curious whether this might also apply in a strange way to fundamentalism and, if so, what the positive pull or pulls might be.

        Like

        • Chas says:

          Newton, do they get something out of it, so they like it, or do they feel less bad, by feeling less guilty. Still, that too is positive!

          Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Newton, I think this is a good question. I can think of a few possibilities: Certainty, security (in life and death), and a feeling of superiority over other people (I’m in with God’s team and you’re not). Maybe being able to tell other people the absolute ‘truth’ or what they must do.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      Newton, It goes the other way too. I get deep satisfaction from my belief, and the intellect is definitely involved, which makes it almost impossible to move me away from it.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Anthony Paul says:

    Newton, you make a great point and any answer would be too short to do it justice. However, something we’ve talked about before on this blog… fundamental christians basically put their faith in words written in the book while never ever taking the time to listen to the words that God is trying to write on their hearts. If our bodies are temples in which The Holy Spirit resides, would He not speak to us if we humbly sought Him out?

    I guess all I’ve really done here is to reshape the intellectual frustration which your question must create in all of us; a better path away from the mechanistic dogmatism of their beliefs seems so within everyone’s grasp… yet they don’t see it. They believe that they have found ultimate knowledge and truth and the key here is that they will not dare step beyond what they have been told by the preacher lest the same God that they believe in so fervently would smite them as He did the Amalekites. Their religious construct will not allow them the freedom to go beyond the shores upon which they have been cast because, contrary to what they may proclaim (The Good News of the Bible???) they know their God to be harsh and extremely demanding of His creation. Ironically, their beliefs are ruled by what they think and their thinking is determined by what they believe. How does one get off that merry-go-round?

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Yes, Anthony, “They believe that they have found ultimate knowledge and truth”; and having protection from angry god. I guess there are a number of things that draw people to inerrancy.

      I think many begin to get off the merry-go-round when something happens to make them realize that something doesn’t make sense. And when that one card gets pulled from the house of cards, the entire construction begins to collapse. This can be very scary!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anthony Paul says:

        You are right Tim… but I wonder if some of them will ever get it. I have a sister who is a fundamentalist and I have tried to talk to her in an open and non-judgmental manner about what it means to be really free to think, and pray and grow much as we do in this forum and apart from what her pastor speaks from the church pulpit or at least to think hard on some of the things he does teach… and we can do this with a clear conscience because Jesus spoke often of setting the captives free… but its all to no avail…. one day, after quoting a few biblical passages me, she just called me “a babbler”. One thing is sure… they won’t allow compassion and understanding to get in the way of their theology.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Anthony, there are many of them that I don’t think will ever get it. My mom is one of those, so I rarely bring up such things; she wishes so hard that I would quit leading people to hell.

          Like

  15. Charlotte Robertson says:

    What gets me most about fundamentalists is their judgemental attitude. All in love, of course. I remember a woman on a television panel blithely, actually smiling, tell someone they would go to hell if they didn’t believe. Now THAT’S love for you? It has the opposite effect on me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Charlotte, judgmentalism, condemnation, and condescension seem to be common in inerrancy.

      Like

    • Would it be more loving for the woman not to tell someone they were lost? If I see you dying and do nothing to save your life, how is that being a loving human being? You might not agree with her beliefs, but I don’t see how you can argue that her motivation wasn’t loving.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charlotte Robertson says:

        This woman was smug, very smug. I have seen this with fundamentalists. ‘We are right and you go to hell’. Most off putting and un-loving.

        Liked by 2 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Wild, I agree with you that we should be sharing the good news of the kingdom of God with others, but the scenario Charlotte describes is common among fundamentalists–that people are lost and on their way to hell unless they follow their instructions and get ‘saved’ is not the way to do it. It often comes across as judgmental and ‘smug’ as Charlotte says.

        The intention is good, but the message given and its delivery are not.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. newtonfinn says:

    Feeling loved by God (safe with God), feeling accepted by God (saved by God). Do these similar-sounding phrases point to different, perhaps even contradictory, experiences?

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, I don’t know; what are you thinking?

      Like

      • newtonfinn says:

        Let me try a family analogy. The former would describe a child in a warm, loving home, with parents who provide unconditional love as a matter of course. The latter would have more to do with a child who feels that he or she must earn the parents’ approval, and that there is the possibility, however remote, of indifference or rejection. In either case, the parents could be expected to come to the aid of their child, to rescue him or her from possible harm. But in the former situation, such action would simply be a given, something that the child would merely take for granted as natural. In the latter situation, however, the child may have been anxious, if only for a moment, that he or she might have so displeased the parents that they might not rush to render assistance. And then, when that anxiety passes and the parents do come to the rescue, the child is overjoyed that he or she pleased the parents enough to be worthy of their assistance. There might even be an element of pride or self-satisfaction that slips in here. I know my words and thoughts are clumsy, and that the analogy does not fully hold together on the theological level, but the vibes I get when I ponder these two situations are distinctly different.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chas says:

          Newton, you touch on something that probably affects many people, in both religious and non-religious households, that of ‘helicopter’ parents, who supervise all of their children’s activities, without giving them the freedom to be themselves. This must result in the child whom you describe as feeling that they have to earn the parents’ approval in everything. With such a background, a feeling of insecurity is almost inevitable.

          Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, make a good distinction. Can you elaborate on how this might be applied to our relationships with God?

            Like

          • Chas says:

            Tim, I’m not sure that it can be applied to our relationship with God. If anything, we would have to concede that God would be the ultimate ‘helicopter’ parent, if He had not given us free will. On the other hand, if we are to do what He wishes us to do, and are able to know what that is, then it is necessary for us to, in effect, surrender our free will, where what He wishes us to do differs from what we would prefer to do. It is necessary to do this for total suffering to be minimised, because we cannot know the onward effect of any actions that we take.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, you raise a good question about free will. I don’t think God infringes on our free will. But when we align with God and the kingdom, and as we grow in love for others, then our free will begins to align with what God wishes for us.

            Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Newton, these are interesting comparisons. How do they apply to our relationship with God in you mind?

          Like

          • newtonfinn says:

            Do we live our lives in the calm and steady assurance that God is love and loves us unconditionally, simply because we are His children, or do we make a constant effort to please a sterner, more distant God, who judges us and might reject us? Two somewhat different Gods, two very different faith journeys, or so it sometimes seems to me. Thoreau, asked on his deathbed if he had made his peace with God, gave a most delightful answer: “I never knew we had quarreled.” And asked whether he believed in the afterlife, Thoreau would only respond: “One world at a time.” THAT’S the kind of calm and steady assurance I’m trying to put my finger on and to contrast with a more performance-based understanding and experience of religion.

            Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Newton, I think Jesus portrays God as loving us and wishing for our best. I don’t believe in a stern God who might reject us if we don’t toe the line.

            While I believe we should align with God’s purpose, but I don’t think that represents a ‘performance-based’ relationship as legalism does. I really like your quotes from Thoreau.

            Liked by 2 people

  17. Paz says:

    Tim, in response to my point above, I think when people for whatever reasons, personal experiences or life circumstances, become very vulnerable, religion (Christianity included) can provide a sense of belonging to a community/church which identifies itself with belief in God (hope) and how to grow in faith!? So therefore my point is, I wonder if it is our complex human nature that often separates us between God’s way and our (complex human beings) ways?
    I hope I have been able to explain this in a way that makes a bit more sense 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Paz, I think Christianity and other religions can provide a sense of belonging, comfort, and hope. Other organizations can do this as well. I think it can be positive or negative, depending on the situation.

      I also agree that we have complex human natures. Can you elaborate on your thought, “I wonder if it is our complex human nature that often separates us between God’s way and our (complex human beings) ways?”

      Like

      • Paz says:

        Tim, I TOTALLY agree! Referring to churches and other groups or organisations that it can be positive but it can also be negative depending on the situation (I was only referring to the positive in my comment) – but it can obsviously go both ways, so very true! As for our human nature, I am basically just referring to what can often be a difficult ( even complex if that is the right way to describe it?) struggle between life in the spirit and “life in the flesh”. As we all know, Jesus had to also deal with this in his own human experience. I think this is probably the best way I can put into words…

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Why Call Out Fundamentalist Views: Isn’t Everyone Entitled to Their Own Opinion? — Jesus Without BaggageJO – GRACE MINISTRY–INDIA

  19. There are mistaken “Christian” beliefs that are harmful. I fail to see how any could be as harmful as the false gospel of universalism that you seem to be teaching. If they are wrong, at worst they follow some rules they didn’t have to. If you are wrong, you have helped to condemn people to an eternity without God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      Wildwanderer, anyone who comes here is free to accept or reject what is written here. We cannot force them to accept it, nor would we wish to do so.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I understand that, however scripture is pretty clear that false teachers will be judged.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chas says:

          True, but that is what someone trying to intimidate anyone into not questioning their views would say, to frighten them off.

          Liked by 1 person

        • newtonfinn says:

          Yes, Jesus in particular was VERY clear about how to distinguish false teachers from those who spoke truth: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Many (like myself) understand “fruits” to mean the effects and impacts of a person’s life on others, whether they bring more love, mercy, and justice into the world, or instead add even heavier burdens to the already-daunting difficulties of human life. Christian universalism has a long history, as shown by Origen’s writings during the first half of the third century CE. The doctrine, in various forms, has appeared again and again in Christian theology, although it never became accepted as a fully orthodox view. Wikipedia has a pretty good discussion of this persistent, sometimes persecuted, belief in universal salvation:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Universalism

          Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Newton: “Many (like myself) understand “fruits” to mean the effects and impacts of a person’s life on others, whether they bring more love, mercy, and justice into the world, or instead add even heavier burdens to the already-daunting difficulties of human life.”

            Good point!!

            Liked by 1 person

    • Paz says:

      wildswanderer, the way I see it, Jesus’ message of love, kindness and compassion, speaks to ALL (universal). CHRIST also demonstrated this by overcoming all – including all religious boundaries, even death itself, therefore revealing in his teachings and life of example to ALL of humanity the way to know God, to be transformed and ultimately to find unity with God.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It speaks to all that will listen. I don’t buy into limited election, if that what you are getting at. But, in Jesus words: 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
        Who are “these”? I don’t know how he could have made it plainer that no everyone will choose Him. No mention of purgatory or the possibility of believing after death.

        Liked by 1 person

        • hoju1959 says:

          Jesus believed in hell and he believed sinners went there. People need to read ALL the red letters, not just the warm-fuzzy ones.

          Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Wild, the story of the sheep and the goats is a parable–not a prophecy of the future.

          Like

          • hoju1959 says:

            Tim, I don’t think it’s really a parable. Look at how the chapter begins: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” So it’s saying the coming of the son of man, a future actual event, will be like separating the sheep from the goats. From what I can see, Jesus believed in sending sinners to hell, based on their works. I don’t think Jesus had any concept of “salvation by faith through grace.” (Or is is “salvation by grace through faith”? Oh well, you know what I mean!)

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Hoju, we see this differently of course.

            Liked by 1 person

      • hoju1959 says:

        Paz, I have a different view than you. I don’t think the historical Jesus was about universal love. First off, he was focused on the Jews. Love you neighbor meant “Love your neighbor Jews.” Secondly, He was all about setting up a literal Kingdom of God in Jerusalem, and that would require separating the sheep from the goats. The sheep go to heaven. The goats go to hell. Most of the verses in scripture on hell come from the mouth of Jesus.

        Like

        • Charlotte Robertson says:

          Jesus actually made it quite clear that your neighbour was not just your fellow Jew. Furthermore I want to say that all of us here are seekers. And what is the promise to seekers?

          Liked by 2 people

          • hoju1959 says:

            Charlotte,
            I disagree. It’s hard to know what the “historical Jesus” would say or do. There’s not much to go on. But the safest route is to stick with the earliest sources, Mark and Q. I think the Jesus we see there is Israelcentric. (Is that a word?)

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Hoju, I have a question then. If loving one’s neighbor was just for Jews with other Jews, then why did Jesus bring a despised Samaritan into the story?

            Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Wild, my own mother tells me repeatedly that she wishes I would stop leading people to eternal punishment in hell. And, if that is what I am doing, she is entirely correct–it is a terrible thing. If I am wrong I am doing a monumental and tragic disservice toward them.

      But I don’t believe God punishes anyone in eternal burning hell, and I think there is almost no chance that I am mistaken about that because the ‘biblical’ case some make for ‘hell’ does not hold together at all.

      The ‘what if you are wrong’ argument can apply both ways. You state, “If they are wrong, at worst they follow some rules they didn’t have to.” But I suggest the damage goes far deeper than that. The false doctrine of hell leads not only to legalism but to fear, judgmentalism and condemnation of others, and missing the opportunity to participate in the kingdom of God on Earth as God intended.

      By the way, I am not a universalist:

      https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/hell-conditional-immortality-something-else-what-happens-to-those-who-reject-god/

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Anthony Paul says:

    This is the story of The Prodigal Son again, but this time the spotlight is on the stay-at-home son — the “good one”. This son saw himself as a son while he saw his brother as “other”… someone who had forsaken his responsibilities and duties on the plantation in order to cash in his option to leave for a life of leisure. Fundamentalists identify strongly with this son because there has to be consequences to not living by a well-defined set of rules… they operate out of a sense of duty and obligation; freedom and love have little or nothing to do with it all. Many become quite offended when you suggest that there may not be a hell at all because hell is sort of a demarcation line between these good christian people and the rest of us sinners. In all my days of talking to people of this mind set, I wish just once to hear one say that he HOPED their was no hell for the sake of his lost brothers and sisters. They seem to lack compassion and any real concern for any but their own kind… IMO, they need a severe heart transplant.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Anthony,
    Well, what I see going on here is someone taking what has been basic Christian orthodoxy for centuries and calling it fundamentalism. Now, I’m not sure when the word fundamentalist became a synonym for bigoted or judgmental, but it’s obvious just one more stereotype and label in a world full of labels and stereotypes. I have known many people who would be considered fundamentalists in my life. Some are harsh and judgmental and some are the sweetest people you would ever hope to meet. And the same goes for those outside the fold, and the same goes for more liberal Christians. I see no reason to make apologies for believing the basic doctrines that are clearly derived from scripture.As for Hoping there is no hell ,,, all well and good, if you are willing to cut out large portions of your Bible. I don’t believe that belief in hell is any demarcation line, clearly, believing in Jesus is the demarcation line between those who are declared righteous and those who aren’t. What most people you would call fundamentalists hope is that everyone will choose God, and yes, many have a great deal of compassion for the lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paz says:

      wildswanderer, I also do agree with you on the way we seem to rely so much on labels and stereotypes and I also believe that many (if not most) Christians have a great deal of compassion for others.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anthony Paul says:

      “I see no reason to make apologies for believing the basic doctrines that are clearly derived from scripture.”

      Wild, many such as yourself seem to have forgotten that Jesus lived, suffered, and died to bring us to new life both here and in the hereafter. He was not called to bring another religion into the world.

      For me, it’s all quite simple really…. after many years of participating in the dead orthodoxy that passes for worship in most churches, and tired of being part of the sacred sound-byte that is religion today, I cried out to God in my brokenness… and Jesus heard me, saw my need, and answered. It is more than enough for me to know the He is there hearing and answering my prayers and petitions because that, and not some musty theological concepts out of the dark ages, has made all the difference in this life as it has in the lives of so many others that I have come to know both in this forum and in the world at large.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I have never understood how one can believe in the Jesus of scripture while denying parts of the same book. That’s all I’m saying. For most all of us, our initial knowledge of who Jesus is, is based on the Word. What ever church experiences we have, the Jesus revealed in the Book is the one we pray to. Those dusty theological concepts are important because they are Truths about the one who is truth. With out them, he’s just a man, or perhaps just a myth.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Anthony Paul says:

          “I have never understood how one can believe in the Jesus of scripture while denying parts of the same book. That’s all I’m saying. For most all of us, our initial knowledge of who Jesus is, is based on the Word.”

          Wildswanderer, you will get no argument from me on this point… I will go further and say that your point is a very good one and totally appropriate under the circumstances. On a personal level I struggled with this same thought myself for most of my life; but what I found was that in forcing myself to have to accept parts of the Bible about Father God (His wrath, judgement etc) which seemed to contradict Jesus’ own actions, I lived my life out of that same kind of self-righteousness, anger, judgement, and general ambivalence… things started getting worse when I took on a kind of “us vs them” mentality about people (if they’re not with us they’re against us). Even on a purely human level I knew this was not healthy; on a deeper level something instinctively told me that I was going way off the beam here.

          A few years ago I chanced upon the writings of the late Father Henri Nouwen. He was a Dutch academic who left the university to become pastor of L’Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto, Canada. A deeply spiritual man who lived and worked among some of the most seriously physically and intellectually broken young people, Henry discovered that God’s love goes out most effusively to those who are most gravely wounded by this life… at the same time he struggled with some personal demons of his own, his own sexual identity among them — thus recognizing his own need to be healed of his own pain and guilt. Through it all he never lost sight of the fact that God loves us all unconditionally and without reservation. It is our good fortune that he has written many wonderful books on the subject of the Father’s love for His lost son — perhaps his greatest work being Return of the Prodigal Son. As I cloud feel myself drawing farther away from God’s Spirit, and remembering Jesus’ words (but never able to experience their reality in my life), “Come to me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest”, I decided to try for just one day to live my life as though God does in fact love me regardless of who I am and irrespective of any qualities or lack of merit on my part. That was a wonderful day… and now I simply take it all one day at a time… trusting that His love and grace are so much greater than my brokenness each morning, and thanking Him for it all in the evening. So that’s how it goes… I have all that I need now in His love for me — that pearl of great price — I have no further need for theological rumination.

          Wild, we are all broken in one way or another because of the wounds that have been inflicted upon us by a very harsh world, be it children, parents, teachers, friends or whatever… and in the process we have inflicted some of our own pain upon others. I sense in you a kind of anger, the kind that is brought on by seemingly endless pain; I’ve been there myself; don’t rest in the clutches of that anger but use it to search out a quieter place for your spirit. Look to Jesus first as someone who loves you with an unconditional, eternal love, for you are The Father’s adopted son as we are all … believe me you will not be disappointed.

          Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Wild, I think the reason we see the Bible so differently is because inerrantist begin with a presupposition of inerrancy and progressives do not. My entire article tomorrow is about this issue. But I do not think Jesus is just a man and definitely not a myth.

          Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Wild, you refer to “basic doctrines that are clearly derived from scripture.” I suggest that many of those ‘basic doctrines’ are not so clearly derived from scripture as many people think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As someone who has read the Book for 40 plus years, I disagree. The basics are clear. And many will try and deny hell, but few will deny heaven. Many will try and deny the existence of Satan or demons, but few have a problem believing in angels. Many want to deny that God says certain sexual acts are sins, but few want to deny that God is love. I wonder why it’s only the hard truths that people try to avoid?
        And it’s also clear that it’s flat out impossible to believe the basic doctrines of the New Testament without believing that the OT is real history. They are so woven together in a beautiful tapestry of Redemption, that they can not be separated without damage to the roots of Salvation. My question is why people do not want the believe the basics and the only answer I can come up with is they don’t want to submit to God, they want to have their cake and eat it too.

        Like

        • Anthony Paul says:

          “Rather then reply, perhaps I will share this portion of my heart, to help you understand…”

          And from your link…
          ” But God can use even the broken stuff and our screw ups to make us better if we choose to listen.”

          Wildswanderer, thank you so very much for sharing that wonderfully touching piece which I will keep as a reminder that real growth comes only from our poverty and vulnerability and brokenness — in themselves a sort of paradoxical source of strength. Your article reveals a deep inner beauty and sensitivity which should not be hidden away. Thank you for sharing that piece… I highly recommend it to all in the forum.

          For me, the good and the bad of all this is that we all hurt… and this is what makes us human… it is what makes us one. But I see that you get that. Peace to you.

          Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Wild, are we in a Bible-reading competition? I got ‘saved’ when I was 7. By the time I was 8 or 9–lets make it 10, I developed a voracious interest in reading the Bible, and it has never subsided. I am now 63, so that would make it at least 53 years of reading the Bible; 53 > than 40. By the way, I don’t believe in hell OR heaven. I don’t believe in Satan, demons, OR angels.

          You said, “the only answer I can come up with is they don’t want to submit to God, they want to have their cake and eat it too.” This is a common accusation by inerrantist, along with ‘they are cherry pickers’ or ‘they make the Bible into what they want it to be.’ But these accusations are not generally true.

          Like

  22. Charlotte Robertson says:

    Wild, what to you are ‘the basics’?

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Good question, Charlotte.

      Like

    • I’ll try to reply to this question, then get out of ya’lls hair. Hope nobody takes my comments too personally. I certainly enjoy a good lively discussion, and sometimes on the internet people think because I have strong views that I’m angry at them, which is not the case. By the basics, I mean the obvious stuff you would glean from scripture just by a plain reading. You might not know what the word” trinity” was, but you would find that God is referred to as Father, Son and Spirit. The basics would be things like Jesus’ divinity and humanity, Virgin birth, death, and resurrection. The necessity of repentance and belief would leap out at you. The existence of Satan and demons and angels, and heaven and hell, which seems to be the issue here. I’m not talking about confusing doctrines, like whether you believe in pre trib, post trib, or whether you’re arminian or Calvinist or open theist.
      Personally, lately, I find the justice of God and the existence of hell a comforting thought. Because, more than just about anything, I long for the banishment of evil from the world and for all things to be set right, for the time when the last shall be first and the first shall be last. When we will no longer be at war within ourselves but able to express our love for God and man without our sins getting in the way.
      Shalom aleikhem to all,
      “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

      Liked by 2 people

  23. hoju1959 says:

    Tim, you asked me this question: “Hoju, I have a question then. If loving one’s neighbor was just for Jews with other Jews, then why did Jesus bring a despised Samaritan into the story?” I couldn’t figure out how to reply to it there so I’m putting a new comment in. I take it that you’re talking about the story of the Good Samaritan. I don’t think that was in Q or Mark, so I think it’s doubtful it was a saying of the historical Jesus. I think that, to Jesus, the Kingdom of God was a reconstituted Kingdom of Israel. That’s why he had 12 disciples, so they could rule over the tribes. Said differently, I think that Jesus saw his mission as to Israel.

    I think that to Jesus, the price of admission into the Kingdom of God was, one, being/becoming a Jew (which I think he would have said required circumcision), two, radical obedience to the Torah.

    However, the mission of the “church” grew outside of Israel. That’s when you start seeing a concern for love across ethnic boundaries, I think, driven notably by Paul. “There is neither Jew nor Greek. . .” Paul was an ambitious guy. He envisioned setting up Jesus franchises, if you will, across the Roman empire. He wasn’t content on a small mom and pop operation, which is what I think he saw the mission of the Mother Church in Jerusalem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks for the elaboration, Hoju. I understand your perspective better.

      Like

    • Chas says:

      Hoju, was Jesus the son of David, or the Son of God?

      Like

      • hoju1959 says:

        Chas, I definitely think he wasn’t the Son of God–that is, God incarnate. Was he of the line of David? That’s what the New Testament says.

        Like

      • Chas says:

        but was he the Son of God, not God the Son (God incarnate)? In regard to the NT, it only claimed that Jesus was the Christ, but all three Synoptic Gospels show the near-identical use of Psalm 110:1 (Mat 21:41-46 ; Mk 12:35-37 ; Luke 20:41-44) to demonstrate that the Messiah could not be the son of David. Of course, a biologically-derived Son of God could not be the son of David anyway, since he could not have had an all-male line from David.

        Liked by 1 person

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